In the past, we’ve talked a lot about asbestos and how widespread its use was until (and even after) the health concerns due to exposure were documented. While asbestos had many properties that made it appealing for construction materials – the long hair-like silica fibers having insulating, sound dampening, and material strengthening properties – one of its prime uses was in fire resistant or fire-proofing construction. This blog is going to look at the situation that prompted the use of fireproofing materials and how asbestos came to be chosen.
The Rate and Risk of Home Fires
The bulk of all fires in the US are residential fires, with modern statistics – according to a 2018 National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) report – show that 3 in 4 fire-related injuries and 4 in 5 fire-related deaths are due to home fires. With 6.5 billion dollars in property loss due to fires in a single year, the prevention of fires has long been an interest in homeowners, their insurers, and municipalities.
How Home Fires Impacted Asbestos Use
Asbestos’s heyday of use was from the early 1900s through the ’80s, with homes made before the 1990s having a chance to be made with asbestos before the restrictions on asbestos use were fully implemented. Due to the area’s most likely to be exposed to fires, asbestos is most common in several places:
- Kitchens: Cooking fires are a major source of all structure fires (according to the above report, 48% of all house fires started due to cooking). Asbestos was often incorporated into the vinyl flooring, as well as kitchen appliances.
- Attics and Roofing: Both are a major area for insulation and fire hazards. Once a roof is breached and collapses, most fires are out of control. With a combination of fireproofing and insulative properties, asbestos can be found in attic insulation, roofing felt, and shingles.
- Fireplaces: While a source of controlled fire, many fireplaces and chimneys many were reinforced with asbestos. This includes fireplace decorations, chimney linings, and applied patches.
If you have asbestos in your home, it’s time to remove it and replace it with stronger and more durable alternatives that don’t pose a threat to your health. If you’re in the New England area, Fiber Control, Inc. can help. We’re asbestos abatement and removal specialists who specialize in residential and commercial asbestos removal, including limited demolition. If you’re in Massachusetts or New Hampshire, contact us today.